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The duties of an estate executor

Some people who have been named as executors of an estate in Ohio might wonder what will be involved in the process. The first step for an executor is to get copies of the death certificate. This will be necessary to notify various agencies, organizations and businesses such as the Social Security administration, life insurance companies, banks and more of the person's death. It is also necessary to locate the will or the trust although the executor or the attorney who prepared them might already know where they are.

Consulting with an attorney may be a good idea along with talking to other professionals such as a tax attorney, an appraiser or others depending on how complex the estate is and what its needs are. If there is a will, the estate must go through probate. The executor will need to be legally confirmed with documents known as letters testamentary.

The executor must ensure that the estate pays all bills and taxes, or if there is not enough money to pay them all, the probate judge can prioritize the order in which they will be paid. It is important that the person does not try to rush through the process even though some beneficiaries might demand it. If there are disputes between beneficiaries, an attorney might be able to assist in mediation.

The complexity of the estate, how well-prepared the estate plan is and what the relationships of beneficiaries are like to one another may all affect how difficult this process is. Unless the estate is worth millions, there will not be an estate tax; a larger estate with a thorough and up-to-date plan may be easier to administer than a smaller one that is complicated by an out-of-date will and family conflict.

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